Final Paper Reviewing U.S. Pledge to GPE Examines U.S. Support to Local Institutions
In November 2011, the United States made a series of commitments in its pledge to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the world's only multilateral partnership exclusively devoted to ensuring a quality education for all children, everywhere. Part of this pledge was a $20 million commitment to the GPE Fund (see “Discussion Paper 1 of 3: The U.S. Commitment to the GPE Fund”); another part reaffirmed goals of the USAID Education Strategy (see “Discussion Paper 2 of 3: The USAID Education Strategy”). A further component of the U.S. pledge to GPE concerned aid effectiveness measures of USAID Forward, the agency-wide reform agenda, particularly around closer collaboration with local actors.
With input from visits to Liberia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia, the third and final installment of Towards Collaborative Support to Global Education: A Review of the U.S. Pledge to the Global Partnership for Education takes an in-depth look at USAID Forward, with a particular focus on progress USAID has made towards meeting its goal to provide more direct investment in partner country governments and local organizations and businesses.
Throughout RESULTS’ visits to Liberia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia, the majority of development actors consulted were not aware of USAID’s intentions to increase direct partnerships with local institutions and host country governments, though they responded positively upon learning about the initiative.
Only one of the 12 basic education projects surveyed by RESULTS has a local entity as the prime implementing partner, and only one out of every 25 dollars USAID invested in education in Africa in 2012 went to a local institution.
If it is to achieve the sustainable development outcomes underlying USAID Forward’s local investment objectives, USAID must:
- Foster partners, not just implementers, by soliciting participation from host country governments and local organizations to establish priorities and develop them as institutions in their own right.
- Build host country government capacity where assessments reveal national systems too weak for direct partnership.
- Coach local NGO communities, by offering organizational feedback and routine guidance on USAID procedures to local communities of practice.
- Strengthen government systems through increased partnership with the Global Partnership for Education, whose systems approach to education development builds the very environment needed by USAID to achieve the government-to-government assistance targets of USAID Forward and meet its objective of sustainable development.
- Support and take advantage of GPE’s efforts to strengthen civil society, which is helping create the landscape needed for USAID to directly partner with local civil society organizations.